Anger as student who called Jews ‘apex predators in capitalism’ readmitted to Durham University

This article reports on allegations made against Hugo Lunn in a misleading manner: It reports, as fact, that Mr Lunn has shared “shocking messages”, some of which are antisemitic in nature. This is misleading; the allegations that Mr Lunn shared antisemitic messages are unproven and there is no official finding that Mr Lunn wrote the posts in question. This correction has been published following an upheld ruling by the Independent Press Standards Organisation.


A Durham University student who called Jews “apex predators in capitalism” in far-right group chats has been allowed back to study for a PhD, prompting calls for a formal probe.

Messages shared by former Durham undergraduate Hugo Lunn included one post which said, “Hitler would be more efficient if he privatised his death factories” and another that referred to “the Jewishtocracy”.

In another remark, Lunn, who is now taking a PhD in medieval history, appeared to mock a student who had been offended by the statement “the only reason the Holocaust was bad is because the Jews did not consent to being gassed”, saying “he got triggered, the cuck”.

Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust called the situation “disturbing”, adding: “If true, in the knowledge of previous antisemitic posts shared by this person… the University of Durham ought to investigate this situation fully.”

City of Durham MP Mary Kelly Foy said she had raised “serious concerns” with the university over the issue.

She said: "These comments are extremely concerning, and the University’s leadership and multifaith student body will agree that such abhorrent views have no place on their campus. I am proud to represent such a diverse University and as such I have raised my serious concerns with the University. I expect they will always act to ensure the safety of students and workers and that any such remarks would be swiftly investigated and decisive action taken.”

Additionally, the Community Security Trust said: “These antisemitic comments were first reported to CST in 2020 and they should have been fully investigated by Durham University at the time. The University ought to explain whether such comments would play a role in determining the status of anyone responsible for such explicit antisemitism.”

Other members of the Durham University Free Market Association (DUFMA) chat group discussed rape and used racist slurs and terminology related to white supremacism.

A complaint about Lunn’s comments was received by the university in August 2020, two months after he completed his undergraduate degree at Durham.

It is understood the university investigated the complaint at the time — but it has failed to explain why Lunn, who had been president of DUFMA, was accepted on a PhD course last year.

Durham Student Union shut down the society in 2020 when details of the discussions came to light, saying “fascism, racism, antisemitism and misogyny in the screengrabs is repulsive”.

Lunn used many aliases in the group chats, including the “Grand Mufti of the Free Market”, “Hasdrubal” and “Nebuchadnezzar” — a reference to Nebakanezer II, notorious for being a cruel enemy of the Jewish people and destroying Jerusalem.

Lunn was identified after leaks of the chat emerged — which the JC has seen — in which other group members addressed him using his real name.

A Durham University spokesperson said: “Were such remarks as have been highlighted by the Jewish Chronicle brought to our attention arising from a Durham University community member, we would take swift and decisive action.

“We condemn any incidents of antisemitism in the strongest possible terms. We are working hard to counter all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism. Staff or students can report incidents of unacceptable behaviour and access support via our ‘Report and Support’ tool, their college or University support services, and we would encourage them to do so.”

Durham University have since released an updated statement on this subject, which can be seen here.

Lunn refused to comment on the record.

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